Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 8 - Episode 6: "Prey"Reviews:
PreyReviewed by: Douglas Trumble
At the start of the episode Clark is in full Superman mode and is spending his time saving people from everything from muggings, robberies, and lunch money extortion. In one fateful case he arrives seconds too late to find a shattered nightclub full of dead people and Darth Vader's apprentice covered in blood. Believing our favorite Sith Lord turned paramedic to be only another victim, Clark, upset about the deaths on his watch, goes on a mission to discover the identity of the killer. After a little help from our favorite Martian in an awesome new job and managing to completely tick off the Chloe-I.A.C. Clark sets his sights on the Paramedic of Doom. Unfortunately for Clark and the world (and fortunately for Davis) a freak of the week slips into the mix taking credit for the monster's kills. This would-be copy cat is no match for the Man of steel though and is easily tired out in the final confrontation. (sorry... had to say it.) While all this is going down Jimmy gets on the trail of a mysterious Good Samaritan who's been saving people all over town.
Okay. The first act of this episode is Epic. Just plain epic. It could very well be the best opening 15 minutes of an episode EVAR. I know that is partly because Smallville does usually save the really cool stuff for the end but dang this episode started off so sweet I had to start wondering if it was legal to give it a 6 out of 5. It was just that good. Still with anything that starts so fast it is bound to stumble at least a little before the end and this is no exception to that rule. The middle act was a bit of a let down compared to the epic start but the episode ended strong. Take it all together and what you have is a great episode of Smallville.
So right out the gate Clark is on the job and the opening montage of him saving people is just (not to over use the word but...) epic. Villains across the city are taken out at super speed. Lives are saved. A dark red blur is zooming through the streets. Tall buildings are leaped. Super hearing is on overdrive. Just awesome! Honestly I have to say the scene in the ally when he saves the boy from the bullies is one of my favorite of the series so far. Yeah it was brief but it was just priceless.
From there we shift to crime scene mode and Clark is there on the case using his brain over his powers. J'onn J'onzz shows up in his new position as a Metropolis PD homicide detective, a job he took so he can be there to help Clark. That was just awesome. Clark hasn't given up getting J'onn his powers back and it is mentioned the Martian has been covering for all the weird reports of someone stopping crimes in the city. Awesome! Just awesome. Clark even comes up with an idea to snoop out the killer. All on his own. Nice!
Things do slow down from there though. Nothing really bad followed but following the Sith-medic as he discovers he was covered in other people's blood and realizes he might be the killer just didn't hold my interest as much as the opening series. Maybe it was the "duh" factor in play at that point. Of course you're the killer you silly Sith. The WB marketing department spoiled that surprise weeks ago.
Still it was interesting and I am wondering how he came about but for the most part I was more interested in Clark's investigation and learning how he was coming to grips with his emotions after the nightclub. The one thing I did like was when Clark confronted Davis after finding the crime scene photos in his locker. The fact that Davis also noticed Clark arriving "too soon" to the crime scene could lead down some interesting roads. Will this lead the monster to focus on Clark from the get go or will that only happen once Clark gets in its way? I don't know but it's interesting.
I was glad to see them cover the concept of Clark becoming obsessed with a failure to save some people. Maybe Tom Welling was playing it a bit over the top but I think it's a good thing for Clark at this point of his Superman career. It allowed a bit of a mentor moment with the Martian which was nice but more importantly it brought up the topic that Superman cannot save everyone. I loved it when Clark said he couldn't let himself believe that. That was awesome. Even if he can't save everyone Superman will never stop trying. This Superman just needs to find a balance. Yes be angry when you cannot save someone but don't let the obsession drive you too far afterwards.
The idea of keeping his identity hidden also comes up here but I think that is going to be covered more next week so I am not going to cover it too much right now. The seeds are planted though with Jimmy getting on the case and we all know once Lois gets her nose on it things will only get worse for Clark. Side note: I found it really funny how Clark told J'onn that Lois was on "assignment". That's our Monster Truck loving Lois.
I was a little conflicted by Clark's actions with Chloe and Isis at first. I was unsettled when he basically swiped the list of meteor freaks from her. I am still unsure how I feel about that. Over the years in various media we have seen Clark Kent do these kinds of things so it is not like it was anything new. Still, usually when he uses his speed to swipe a list, X-ray vision to see something in a safe, or super hearing to listen in, it has always been a valid suspect who's privacy he is violating. This time he was in search of a suspect and was undercutting his friend. Superman has always been on the questionable side of personal privacy rights. Usually it is ok as long as he's not using his powers to spy on his ex-girlfriend... oh wait.. let's not go there.... Anyway it's always been a question mark with the character and I think they need to be careful how it is used. So with that in mind I kind of liked that it was covered here.
Clark was doing what he felt he had to do. He only shared the list with J'onn and beyond just looking for a possible suspect and he didn't do anything more with the list. I thought Chloe's comments about witch hunts was a little over the top but understandable and in the end Clark realized he went too far and apologized. Good for him. A difficult situation but one that was handled reasonably well. At the very least they didn't just sweep Clark's using the list under the carpet. Plus I liked Clark's "More like speed reading" comment when asked if photographic memory was one of his powers. That was a nice touch.
The final showdown with the Meteor Freak was fun as well. Sure, the boy wonder, wife, and myself were all braced for Doomsday himself to come crashing out of that ally but I was not too disappointed when it turned out to be something else. You had to kind of expect that this early in the season. It was a neat twist to have it be another freak and the shadow monster effects were kind of cool. I did briefly think it was another phantom from the Phantom Zone but that was a minor thing. By having this guy take the credit for the killings, they are building suspense for Doomsday. Keeping it going a bit longer. Plus as an added bonus we were given another glimpse at the building of Team Luthor. No down side there for this fan other than maybe the fact that I can't wait to see where they are going with that. When your only down side is that you can't wait for more then things are going well.
I also liked how Chloe finally put Davis in his place. That should have came an episode or two ago since it was pretty much obvious he was hot for her but it was nice to see and nicely handled. Chloe-I.A.C. or not she's doing right by Jimmy right now and that is good.
So viewers should be warned this one starts superfast and super good, slows a bit in the middle and ends strong. If you don't let the epic start taint the better than average middle and the great ending then you are in for a real treat of an episode.
Me, personally? I am going with a 5 out of 5. It was just too good to grade any lower.
Next week looks like they are going to dig a bit deeper into Jimmy's theories of the super powered Samaritan. I can't wait to see how Clark handles it.
PreyReviewed by: Neal Bailey
Note: Not Smallville.
SMALLVILLE! There it is! Where did it go, though? Three episodes, it just went like a fart in the wind, poof. Or more aptly, poot.
I tried to put my finger on what made this episode better for me than the last three, because on the surface, the dilemmas they use are not exactly that wise for Chloe and Clark. Vetting freaks of the week? I mean, come on. Has there ever been a freak other than Clark who wasn't a member of the JLA who didn't immediately go cuckoo for murder puffs?
What got to me is the fact that the dilemmas were not ARBITRARY. They were just unsympathetic. I can deal with an unsympathetic dilemma if the drama springs from the plot. That's exactly what it is. If it's not manufactured. For instance, Jimmy hitting on Maxima over a note? Arbitrary. It doesn't spring from the plot naturally.
Clark and Chloe having a debate over the merits of personal freedom for freaks? I disagree strongly with Chloe and think she's being an idiot and almost out of character, but it's a dilemma they would face given campfire meetings of the clinically powerful as a murderer was on the loose.
Also, there were many, many fewer plot holes than usual. Oh, there were some, don't get me wrong, this is, after all, television. But they weren't legion, they were just there.
To the blow-by-bow:
Chloe is a qualified therapist now, but I almost forgive it. I mean, if Lana is a sorority girl, a baker, a business owner, a philanthropist, knowledgeable of fashion, a kung fu master, a witch from centuries ago, and face it, amazing, Chloe can be a reporter hacker and a therapist. Why not?
I'd probably harp on it more if the scene were not a decent one. Unlike the usual opening scene, where a guy is introduced to the cast to become the obvious villain, here we have an almost sympathetic introduction with a creature dragging one of the freaks off. It's scary, jarring, and human, as opposed to surface, cliché-driven, and designed to drag in the eye as opposed to the mind.
There was one brightly unintentionally comical moment where the lady activates the light in the dark alley to reveal... MULTI-COLORED MOPEDS!
Honestly, who hides their mopeds in dark alleys? Evil hippies, that's who. And unlike most villains, who just walk after you and go faster than you running at a full trot, you never hear about the evil hippies, because they never chase. You have to come to them. Curse the need for alpaca!
Clark and Chloe act HEALTHY for a scene. Clark is working on catching bad guys, and Chloe doesn't turn to him and say, "HEY! WHY AREN'T YOU PAYING ATTENTION TO ME!" which is normal par. She instead notes that he isn't paying attention, realizing he is doing something important, and leaves him to it. This is atypical on Smallville, and I loved it. Just a simple scene of human interaction that establishes the dilemma without fake drama.
Clark's stealth saves were rad. The child actor was awful, but the scene itself was cool enough to make it work. They re-used a speed shot for the high above the streets bit, but that was totally forgiven for me when Clark jumped up to the Ace of Clubs. RAD.
And then, I was totally drawn in. Dude, we have a ROOM FULL OF ANNIHILATED YUPPIES. That is, on the monkey scale, nine bananas out of poop. I mean, if you wanted to pitch a perfect show to me for Friday night when I should be out drinking and picking up loose women, it would be "Yuppies Get Annihilated! Avec Monkeys." Only on Fox.
And just to add to the awesome factor of the show, we get to see it again, when Jimmy pulls it up on his computer.
NYAAARG! RAAARGLE! SMASH! (must be an iPod) KBLEOOOOOSH! RIP (There goes one of those expensive dresses) TINKLE! (Now that must be a frat boy peeing himself, or a martini imploding, either way) BLATATATATAT! CRONCH! (That's a pair of crocs being folded in two and eaten).
I am now rooting for Doomsday.
My note actually reads: "Room full of $%#@ed up Yuppies. 1up!"
Davis gets a KO. I'm guessing he's gonna get a buttload of them before the end of the season. Fastest KO Count contender EVAR!
John Jones, detective. I love it! They're going from Smallville Manhunter to ACTUAL Manhunter. Good times.
Clark and Manhunter debate the need to save everyone. Clark, instead of being his usual self, derides Manhunter when he suggest that Clark give up and not try to save everyone, with, "The moment I believe that is when I stop trying."
Bingo. Yachtzee. Simple, ain't it? And that's Clark. Not this emo punk we've been dealing with who might be found in the Ace of Clubs instead of the Ace O' Clubs.
Clark and Chloe here begin their debate over the freaks on the watch list. The problem with this whole dilemma is that history in this show, which should be obvious to either character, is wholly on Clark's side. Were this the third episode and not the 160 something-eth, we'd have an easier time giving potential freaks the benefit of the doubt. But as Clark rightly points out, if you have powers, likely you're riding the crazy train BACK! (to the future) and hitting that red presto log.
Chloe forbids him from giving the police (IE MANHUNTER, who they know they can trust) the list. It's not like they're turning it over to the (cough) DDS. Department of Dental Surgery. Oy.
Chloe's like, "I'm gonna set this paper here, and trust you not to x-ray or superspeed around me, okay!" WHOOSH! "Clark, what was that?" "I was uh, just, uh, looking under your skirt at superspeed! Yeah!" "No! You were taking the notes!" "Yoink!" Chloe suddenly finds herself braless and suddenly being watched by the government.
Superman is a d!ck. Just ask the invisible man.
AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES!
Why does Davis draw blood at the hospital. I mean, the scene is played up as all tense because he's rushing and doing it behind a counter, but there's a pee room right around the corner, dude. Come on!
John Jones tells Clark that Davis is the first to arrive on the scenes, which seems an odd corollary for suspicion, but I'll let it fly. I mean, he IS a paramedic, but every one is a little suspicious. Especially if he's a bloody mess. That wasn't elaborated upon, which makes it harder. Should have been.
The scene with Davis weeping to Chloe and explaining that he might be a murderer and can't stop himself was actually extraordinarily well done, and made me sympathetic to the character for the first time. Excellent.
Chloe, I note at this point, is not acting very Brainiac-y. This is the problem with an inconsistent or non-focussed internal continuity in a show. It means development is not a gradual process, it's a lightswitch.
Clark goes to Davis and confronts him. Davis, almost OOC after the scene where he indicates he's afraid of what he is, accuses Clark in return. The only thing that saves it is the fact that Clark IS equally there in a random way.
AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES. And how the heck does Jimmy get into a closed hospital anyway? And hospitals close?
Dude, completely off topic, but I visited Jeff Bridges last week, and we went and saw the Sacred Heart hospital. There was a place I could have wall climbed up and jumped off the roof just like Ted. My God. - Back to the show:
The shade guy was pretty neat, actually. Good effects, and a decent fight. I was perplexed as to why they used the effects budget for Clark looking through a dumpster and for throwing a tire, but in the end, at least the fact that he protected his secret and fought a cool looking villain without trying to kill him made it worthwhile.
Why Kryptonite cuffs work with the dude though is beyond me. Still, another addition to the Superman Revenge Squad is RAD. I can't wait to see where it goes, and I have high hopes.
Chloe acts RATIONAL in not dating or entertaining Davis as a lover. The show ends with a pretty spooky vision of a murderer who doesn't know he's a murderer.
All in all, this was a lot of fun. There wasn't a monster epic fight, or any great action piece, but it kept me pretty darned entertained, which is all I ask for. I'm gonna go 4.5 of 5.
I think I've written to you once before. I work pretty long hours, so don't often get the chance to respond to your reviews. I'm writing because, oddly enough, I've just started watching Smallville after a three season abstention. Lucky me, eh? I thought I'd catch up by reading your review for the Season 7 finale. Therein, you asked if anyone was out there - every writer knows that feeling - so I thought I'd add my name to the many others who get in touch. It's been said before, but your reviews are always a joy to read.
This isn't about a specific episode, but about the new series in general. I don't think Smallville has to be canon in order to be iconic (All-Star Superman leaps and bounds to mind), which is why I was a little worried by Clark working at the Planet. However, I enjoyed the first two episodes immensely. There are so many good things, particularly in the second:
- The first scene in the newsroom was wonderful. The music was perfect, just like it was back in Season 3 when it segued from the composer's work into the Movie theme. It gave me the same sort of shiver this time around.
- Lois mocking Clark's choice of clothing was priceless, and I didn't think his change felt forced.
- Agree with you completely on the bit where Lois attempts to charm a police officer. It's great to see that age-old cliche fail to work, just once.
- Clark talking the baddie down was iconic - there's no other word for it. I have this mental image of Tom Welling slouched in front of the TV at home, before he's started filming this season. He flicks through the channels and comes across Superman Returns. Suddenly he stands up and realises that he should be acting like that guy. Probably a million better examples in the comics, but you get my drift. Something to do with the writers as well, I'm sure, but Welling really nails it in that scene.
I think Welling has always had it in him, the scripts just haven't given him enough to work to in that regard. Here, it was obvious that he had great stuff to work with.
Weirdly, the only thing that annoyed me was that Lois kept calling Clark "Smallville". It grated a bit as the show went on; not really sure why, but it did.
Because she lives in Smallville and has for four years, no doubt. Heh.
Other than that, I'll keep watching, and keep reading.
Best wishes, and please carry on the good work!
/Maxima is drawn to Jimmy in that crowd as the best possible mate? She definitely wins the dumb as Clark award/
I think you missed some things. Ollie wanted to meet Tess at the Ace bar, but she told her assistent "thanks for the dress...but no thanks on drinks". But Maxima didn't know that. She expected to meet the Kryptonian there because the beacon came from the mansion, and saw the invite. She then told Jimmy that he was the only one at the bar alone...because she expected that the Kryptonian was waiting for Tess. She took the dress to pretend to be Tess.
Still, for me, that means I as the viewer gotta read too much between the lines. Simplicity is the key. Put the complexity in the themes...
As always enjoy your reviews. Season 8 of Smallville to me so far has been just like the New Orleans Saints (my favorite NFL team)...you just don't know what to expect each week. I think the show is better off without Kristin Kreuk in the show (nothing against her, it's just there was really nothing further for Lana to do on the show with the way it was written...), but it still is very much hit or miss to me.
Likewise. It's like sometimes they're on crazy pills, sometimes the show rocks. It's very antagonizing.
As far as the Maxima episode goes, there was really only one small thing in the episode I found somewhat cool and that was the device in the very beginning that was holding the crystal...it was reminiscent of the spinning rings that formed the cage of Zod, Ursa, and Non in the beginning of Superman 1 and 2...Thought that was a cool homage, if intentional...
I think it might have been, yeah.
Take it easy Neal!
Bruce Kanin wrote, regarding Comitted:
This had all the makings of a maximum C-rated episode, but instead it gets a *B+*. Let's count the ways, below.
The coming of Doomsday! Seems like Davis Bloome will be like a bad Hulk. Anyway, this will be a SMALLVILLE version of Doomsday. Rarely do the characters they lift from the comics come close to the way they were originally portrayed there. Think: Mxyzptlk.
I'm glad you liked the episode. It seems the thing with Lois and Clark drug a lot of people in more than it did me, as did the "I love him!" scene. I think it's a case of people wanting something they know so much they'll forgive a lot, like what I do for evil Lex.
Last week was Maxima- I HATED IT- the only thing I liked about the episode was the review- 10 times better than that episode. I know the character was thin- but in the comics, she evolved and in the end was a noble character. I knew we weren't going to get that kind of development but what was in that episode will not warrant her return. A whole episode to tell us Lois and Clark are meant to be together- Duh- and if I'm ever in a wreck as bad as Lois was, I hope I fair that well. That looked like an ad for seatbelt safety.
Or for Lois Lane's Patented Old-Tyme Invincibility Serum.
Now Committed-What is it that you called Lois recently- shrew was it? So true. What the hell was that speech about? And for a guy with super strength and super speed, who uses his powers in front of people frequently anyway- he can't yank a drunk chick (who probably won't remember) out of a room, to keep her jealous mouth shut.
And this after condemning Clark for making out with Maxima, etc, etc...
The morning after- Lois and Clark style- ok- they're trying REALLY hard to get them together now, and Welling plays it well, but Lois is written as pushing him away again anyway- so tell me the point here.
On to Ollie and Tess, flirting- who cares?
Jimmy and Chloe and the plot from SAW? Chloe loves Jimmy- Okay? And again- so? Clark and Lois have to pretend they're getting married-
here we go again. Duh.
Yeah, all pretty lame.
Ollie and Tess, and a really annoying scene- he's afraid of her...they kiss- my eyes roll out of my head in disgust, thankfully the scene is over. Back to shrewish Lois and a line that was really bad when she got shot, but atleast she shut up. A commercial for High School Musical -- will the horror ever end.....
And again they use kryptonite because they can't come up with another way to stop Superman. The weirdo wears a kryptonite bracelet-- which means kryptonite is easier to get than just about anything... and it took that little bit of rock to keep him from breaking the chains? Level of kryptonite to Superman weakness yet again is completely out of whack. Are these the new writers?
I think Kryptonite has become such a crap device in this respect... I wish they'd retire it.
Lois loves Clark- knew that was coming- but why did they not just tell the psycho they weren't really a couple? Of course, after they do- what happens? He doesn't listen to them anyway... he's not even curious? Time to keep frying everybody. How does she not see what Clark did with his eyes? I know the effect is there for us- but her eyes are on Clark, he looks at the pipes, and they burst- we just gloss over it, and his wounds heal- one minute blood on him, next not there. But I did enjoy hearing her say yes and Clarks' surprise. Nice. But, if just being in the room with the K weakens him so badly, how then can he handle it and throw it now that it's right next to him?
Noted, and disgusted as well. His blood BOILS when he touches it.
Jimmy had a different life than he told Chloe about- who cares? Trust issues, I get that, but because he had it rough she wouldn't want him? I guess I just don't want to explore that. I say accept the guy, get married, go through the BrainIAC issue, for better or worse remember? It's a Superman show-move on.
Yes. And beyond that, Chloe's dad is a crap merchant.
Tess and Ollie and more soap crap- my eyes are on the floor again.
Lois and Clark- pretty good scene at the end, accept he seems like he really doesn't remember if she had the monitor on-he helped her out of the straps- I found it confusing. At the very end- Clark looks puzzled... still wondering if he has feelings for her, well figure that out already.
Next week Doomsday begins, I will give it a chance.
I did, and I enjoyed it!
Read ya later Neal, Ann
I thought this episode was all right, but that may have just been the novelty factor for me of seeing a Smallville episode broadcast in high-def for the first time.
Me too, actually! It was my first, and it looked RAD. I enjoyed the heck out of that, even if the story was sub-par
Story wise, this episode had more holes than Shia Labeouf's first major movie.
Points for reference. I liked the book.
You know, when I first heard about the Tess character I wondered if she would be like The Contessa character from the late 90s in the comics, who, if memory serves, married Lex eventually.
And got killed by Lex eventually as well, notably. Presumably.
With Jimmy's "revelation" of "secrets and lies" at the end, I was wondering why they didn't use the more interesting post-Crisis comic backstory, where Jimmy had a father who was missing in action or something like that.
It's starting to become ridiculous that EVERY character in a relationship has a secret.
Three times an episode, too.
From having super powers (Clark), being a meteor freak (90% of the characters), being dead (Adam, season three), having a family connection to a witch (Jason), being someone's dead brother (Julian/Grant), and being Doomsday (Davis), it's just gone too far to be dramatic now when they do it. At this point, it's almost expected of every new character. Next thing you know a character will come out of the closet.
I thought Lex and Clark were already lovers. Did I miss something?
I wonder if elevators are really statistically safer than stairs.
I would imagine so. I've fallen down stairs quite a bit given how much I rush. I've never fallen down an elevator. Then again, it only takes once...
Bruce Kanin wrote:
Yeah, I know it was crap, but there was something about the horror aspect that grabbed me, especially when combined with "Superman". What can I say?
That you enjoyed it... and that's just fine!
As for "Unbreakable" ... it's one of my all-time favorites. Terrific soundtrack, too. I was always torn between wanting a sequel and wanting them to leave it as a one-picture wonder. Trouble is, a sequel might have had Willis all but performing as a super-hero, and that might have been a bit too much.
Yeah... I'm mixed. Either way, it's my fave movie of all time, pretty much, right up there with Shawshank.
Also from Bruce, RE: Prey.
Very much agreed!
Agreed on ALL fronts. I mean, the last one was just epic in the making, and could really go places if they capitalize on it.
Mark Palenik wrote:
I saw Smallville today for the first time in a while. Actually, I'm watching it right now, because I recorded it on my computer while I was out, and watching it proved to be an ordeal, since I no longer have speakers for my computer, or headphones with a long enough cord to be usable. I've actually been falling asleep during Smallville for the last couple weeks. Not because it's so boring--I've actually fallen asleep before I had a chance to find out.
I just wanted to point a few things out that I've noticed so far:
1) That scene at the beginning where the girl with electrical powers is being dragged away was ripped from the previews for Quarantine, right?
I don't know, actually. It's like when the preview for Jitters was on the first six episodes of season one.
2) It seems like they're handling, or at least, trying to handle Clark's character a little bit better. It seems like he's at least trying to be more heroic, even if I'm not sure I approve of the speeding in and smashing criminals through a pane of glass with no regard for injury (in real life he probably would have killed them, although, maybe we're just supposed to accept that in the Smallville universe being smashed through a window by a speeding locamotive is non-lethal).
It's more refined than it's been in the past, at least... where he throws them half a mile.
Anyway, what are your thoughts on that? Are they handling the heroism aspect better lately? It now seems like he wants to save everyone, or believe that he can save everyone, which seems kind of Superman-ish, or Supermanly, or what have you. But I haven't seen the show a lot lately. What do you think? Can we say that he's finally starting to get there, even if it took an absurdly long amount of time, and he still perhaps has an absurdly long way to go?
I think they're doing very much better with the heroic aspect. Though the lightpole guy sucked, generally, he's being much more refined and adult. It's about time, too.
Thanks, all! Catch you next week!
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